The Beach Life

My first memories of the beach are weekend trips to Mayaro and Manzanilla in my granddads’ old bronze Vauxhall. The drive was long and there was always a constant chance that the car would overheat and shut down along the way. But that didn't worry us kids too much. We had red sweet drink and mama's chicken paste sandwiches (with crusts removed no less) to keep us busy in the backseat. Then there was the crossing of the old wooden bailey bridges. "Kla-klanck, kla-klanck, kla-klanck" I was sure that one day the bridge would collapse and we would all fall into the river. “Kla-klanck, kla-klank”. But oddly it was a part of that drive I always looked forward to. A strange mix of excitement and fear. When we crossed the second one, I knew we were almost to the beach.

The feel of sand on my bare feet on the cool tiled floors and rough painted wooden doors with “hook and eyes”, and bent rusty nails sticking out are all I remember of the beach houses we stayed at. Vague splotchy memories really, like looking through a lens smeared with greasy fingerprints. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time. I have other memories too, photo memories, images from faded photos in silverfish eaten albums that I've seen over and over growing up that have filled in the gaps between what was there and what I can actually remember.

The beach has always been a place of wonder and awe for me. My father was lost at sea when I was very young and I've always felt that he was close to me whenever I was near the ocean. It is also at the beach where my grandad would carry me and my brother every year to catch Blue crabs under the full moon in the months ending with “r”. There is a feeling of safety, the comfort of home, when my foot steps into soft sand.

The beach is an integral part of island life. In one way it is just another place to pass time like the movies or the mall, to meet with friends, to hang out, to lime. But in another way it is a sacred space; a place for renewal, a place for discovery, for adventure, for solitude, for questions and for answers; a place to celebrate and a place to grieve.

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Monterosso, Italy 2008

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Manzanilla Beach, Trinidad 2017

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Englishman's Bay, Tobago 2014

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Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA 2013 

Dania Beach, Florida, USA 2016

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Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando, Trinidad 2018

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Carat Shed Beach, La Brea, Trinidad 2018

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Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA  2016

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Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA  2016

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Carat Shed Beach, La Brea, Trinidad 2018

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Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand 2009

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Dania Beach, Florida USA 2016

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The Hook, Hood River, Oregon USA 2016

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Viento State Park, Cascade Locks, Oregon USA 2016

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Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA  2016

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